It’s officially hotter than hell here in Texas, and although we’d already been deep in the thick of it for months at this time last year, the heat has come on strong, and all-of-a-sudden; we’ve hit 105 degrees this week, I believe—maybe higher. Aside from serious brow-furrowing concern about our planet slowly melting and our species not actually being designed to survive very well in raging hot places (like, say, future-Earth), I actually haven’t been too bothered by our recent wave. Air conditioning is SOP in these parts, and I’ve had a bunch of work projects lately, so have been holed away in my cool home office most days. I well remember the cabin fever that last year brought on, though; it started to feel weirdly like a New England winter, when we realized sometime in early August we’d been constantly indoors for months on end. In order to keep that at bay for as long as possible this
summer, I’ve been heading outside with Kaspar in the early evenings for brief, but regular, fresh-air escapes. Running around for too long, even at that time of day, is not a great idea, but water play is most welcome with the littles at any time, and especially when it’s steamy.
We’re white-trashing it up with the garden hoses and naked kiddos out on the driveway on the regular, and we’re also finding ways to incorporate water into typically-non-water-related activities, just for fun. One recent accidental discovery occurred when Kaspar and his friend J (of previous Alt-Mama appearance
fame) were playing with sidewalk chalk on our front porch; we all went inside to fetch glasses of water (for hydration), and Kaspar (of course) spilled his as soon as we made it outside. The kids started drawing with the chalk in the puddle—which was also basically steaming – and we all marveled at the unique effect the water had on the chalk; its colors were ultra-bold and its application went on thick and paint-like.
So what did we do? We 1) poured our drinking water all over the porch in puddle after puddle, calling each puddle a canvas and creating art that would have made Jackson Pollack proud. Then, 2) the masterpieces changed before our very eyes as the water evaporated and the colors went light again. (There, instructions!) Although it looked, when they were done, like the Muppets had been murdered on our doorstep, the kids had a blast making footprints (both watery and chalky) and handprints, and kept at it for at least an hour before it was bath time (they were both utterly covered in chalk); because there was plenty of water involved – without being outright wasteful, as per the hose – they also stayed cool throughout the endeavor.
I’m on the lookout for more fun, heat-resistant activities for the summer’s duration; I’ll keep you posted as we create and/or discover them. Now tell me— what are your favorite ways to play and keep cool?